Two weeks ago, my friend and I tried Avec Bistro for dinner. I was really excited to try Avec Bistro when I had learnt that food and wine veterans, Jackie Cooke and Kirk Shaw, along with Michael Lazarowich, Gail Norton of Cookbook Company, and Executive Chef, Darnell Japp, the former executive sous chef at Rouge, are the ones behind this new restaurant. Avec Bistro’s menu, succinct and to the point, mainly focuses on classic French bistro fare. I really like what they have done to the space that used to be home to a Korean restaurant, next to Flatlands Cafe on the corner of 5th Street and 11th Avenue SW.
For an appetizer, my friend ordered the Grilled Asparagus & King Oyster Mushroom Salad ($10) with shaved comté. The asparagus spears were perfectly cooked and lightly dressed in a well-balanced vinaigrette.
I had the Beef Tartare ($14), which included cornichon, dijon, egg yolk and was topped with crispy shallots. It was served with crispy toasts. I really enjoyed this contemporary presentation of Beef Tartare, especially the contrasting texture from the crispy shallots. This dish was actually the highlight of the evening for me and probably one of the best versions of Beef Tartare that I’ve had.
For her entrée, my friend tried the Bouillabaise ($25). The bouillabaise had a spicy tomato saffron broth with Pernod and was served with crispy toasts and rouille. My friend really enjoyed this dish.
I had the Moules ($16) along with a side of frites. The mussels were steamed with bacon and tomato concasse in a white wine broth. They were very fresh and very tender.
The generous portion of Frites ($6), was served with ketchup and a spicy aioli. The fries were crispy and well-seasoned.
For dessert, my friend had the Apricot Tart ($8), which was one of the daily feature desserts. It was topped with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream from Village Ice Cream. My friend really enjoyed this tart. Personally, I thought the pastry was a little denser than I had expected.
I tried the Frozen Lemon Parfait ($8), which was served with raspberry coulis and cookie crumble. The lemon parfait was a bit richer than I had expected. It was very creamy and not too sweet, which I really liked.
All in all, this was an excellent meal. All the dishes were well-executed. The service was top-notch. The standout dish for me was the Beef Tartare. Avec Bistro definitely a welcome addition to the culinary scene here.
#105, 550 11 Ave SW